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Shamebridge: A Call to Action - Unite Here Local 11 Boycotts Aimbridge Hospitality

Gracie Gottlieb | 22 January, 2024

In a bold move, UNITE HERE Local 11 has launched a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality, the world's largest third-party hotel operator. The boycott serves as a call to action, demanding that Aimbridge sign a fair contract for its union properties in Southern California. The union's members are urging tourists and visitors to choose alternative accommodations at various properties until Aimbridge Hospitality complies with their demands.

Dubbed "Shamebridge" by its own employees, Aimbridge Hospitality has been surrounded by controversy since the start of the Southern California hotel strike. The turmoil escalated when housekeepers at the San Pedro DoubleTree filed a class-action lawsuit against a subsidiary of Aimbridge, accusing the operator of violating panic button and worker safety provisions outlined in the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance.

The business practices and model employed by Aimbridge Hospitality have raised concerns among industry analysts and credit ratings agencies. These concerns include the high turnover rate within the company's C-suite, overly-aggressive growth strategies, and credit issues. PKF Hospitality Group's U.S. managing director, Baron Ah Moo, even suggested that Aimbridge might have overextended itself in pursuit of growth, potentially jeopardizing its liquidity event plans. Rumors of weaker performance and a desire for more personalized attention from owners have also emerged, indicating that change may be on the horizon for Aimbridge Hospitality.

Furthermore, UNITE HERE Local 11 has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Aimbridge at two hotel properties. These charges allege that Aimbridge managers unlawfully interfered with employees' rights to engage in union or other protected activities. The charges are currently under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board. The California Labor Commissioner and Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon have also launched investigations into allegations of the exploitation of unhoused migrant workers at Aimbridge properties. The involvement of CalPERS, the largest pension fund in the United States, adds weight to the concerns raised by hotel workers and unhoused migrant workers.

The boycott announcement comes at a time when 29 hotels across Los Angeles and Orange County have reached tentative labor agreements with their workers. Aimbridge Hospitality, however, has failed to meet the standards set by these agreements, prolonging labor disputes at the properties mentioned in the boycott.

UNITE HERE Local 11 represents over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports. The union is committed to fighting for fair contracts and protecting the rights of workers in the hospitality industry.

The boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality serves as a powerful statement, highlighting the need for fair treatment and working conditions within the hotel industry. As the largest third-party hotel operator in the world, Aimbridge Hospitality holds immense influence, making this boycott a significant step towards improving conditions and worker rights. The support of tourists and visitors in choosing alternative accommodations sends a clear message that the public stands with the workers in their fight for a fair contract.

In conclusion, the Shamebridge boycott launched by UNITE HERE Local 11 against Aimbridge Hospitality is a call to action, demanding that the company sign a fair contract for its union properties. The controversy surrounding Aimbridge Hospitality's business practices and alleged labor violations has garnered attention and support from various stakeholders. As the labor dispute continues, the public's involvement in the boycott will play a crucial role in pressuring Aimbridge Hospitality to address the concerns raised by its employees. Ultimately, the aim is to achieve fair and equitable treatment for all workers in the hospitality industry.

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